"Oil lead the no volume “reflation”/squeeze last week, with WTI up +5.7% week-over-week," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote earlier today in a note to subscribers. "It is straight back down -3.5% today after tapping the top-end of our immediate-term $34.97-38.33 risk range (MLPs were +14.4% last wk, but still -32% YTD)."
Takeaway: Contrary to what some would like you to believe, there were plenty of investable ideas that "worked" out rather well this year.
It was the year that nothing worked according to Bloomberg.
Our non-consensus team here at Hedgeye begs to differ. We alerted our subscribers to myriad market opportunities on both the long and short side throughout 2015. Here's a sampling of some of our top calls.
What a difference a year or two can make. One of our firm's top contrarian calls included shorting MLPs like Kinder Morgan (KMI) which Fox Business’ Charlie Gasparino named one of the best calls of the year. Since maverick Hedgeye analyst Kevin Kaiser sounded the alarm back in August 2013, shares of KMI have plunged 60%.
To be clear, Kaiser was the lone bear on the stock and bore the brunt of exceedingly harsh criticism and personal attacks from Wall Street analysts and supposed market prognosticators only to be vindicated recently when KMI cut its dividend earlier this month.
Another big win (which Wall Street missed) came courtesy of our non-consensus Macro team and their repeated warnings on #Deflation and #GrowthSlowing.
For the record, commodities have collectively fallen over 20% this year with broader deflation consistently confounding the Fed's bullish economic narrative. Watch Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough laying out the thesis in the video below. (Note the #timestamp: 9/18/2014)
Our Healthcare team led by Tom Tobin issued a number of prescient calls in battleground stocks like long Athenahealth (ATHN) and short AMN Healthcare Services (AHS). Check out Tobin's recent write-up in Investopedia, titled "Why a Perfect Storm Is Brewing in Healthcare" which lays out his #ACATaper theme which will continue to rock healthcare stocks well into 2016.
Internet & media:
Sector Head Hesham Shaaban had quite a year. In addition to nailing his short calls on Twitter (TWTR) and Pandora (P), his sole long call in the sector, LinkedIn (LNKD), has ripped ever higher even during a tough year for the broader market.
It's been a tough year for the sector and analyst Jay Van Sciver called it. His shorts on Caterpillar (CAT) and Wabtec (WAB) are down -25% and -17% respectively year-to-date.
Hedgeye Managing Director Howard Penney penned a piece for Fortune back in October "Why McDonald’s stock will never trade below $100 again." What a call. Since then MCD is up 13.5% versus the S&P's 0.6% gain. His research on shorting Shake Shack (SHAK) and Chipotle (CMG) have also worked out rather nicely.
Gaming, lodging and leisure:
After calling the year-to-date bottom in Macau casino stocks Hedgeye Gaming, Lodging and Leisure head Todd Jordan appropriately advised clients to sit on the sidelines before the stocks ultimately tumbled 10% in November. Meanwhile, the long call on Boyd Gaming (BYD) has been a consistent winner for our team.
For more see on the outlook for Gaming stocks, click the video below.
Sector co-heads Jonathan Casteleyn and Josh Steiner nailed the short thesis on Encore Capital Group (ECPG), which is down 33% this year.
All year long, Retail Sector Head Brian McGough has been appropriately suspect about the outlook for the sector, even amidst all the Black Friday chest-thumping. Short calls on Tiffany (TIF) have worked out well. The stock is down 30% year-to-date. In the video below, McGough talks about the two stocks he does like in retail.
Contrary to Bloomberg's reporting, there were plenty of investable ideas that "worked" this year, just not on the books that Wall Street was talking up.
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Takeaway: We are flagging JPMorgan (JPM - Score: 95) (short) and Federated Investors (FII - Score: 18) (long) on sentiment and short interest.
This morning we are publishing our updated Hedgeye Financials Sentiment Scoreboard in conjunction with the release of the latest short interest data last night. Our Scoreboard now evaluates over 300 companies across the Financials complex.
The Scoreboard combines buyside and sell-side sentiment measures. It standardizes those measures to an index of 0-100, where 100 is the best possible sentiment ranking and 0 is the worst. Our analysis shows that a contrarian strategy can be employed successfully by taking the other side of stocks with extreme readings in sentiment, either bullish or bearish. Once sentiment reaches these extreme levels, it becomes a very asymmetric setup wherein expectations become too high or too low.
We’ve quantified the tipping points for high and low sentiment. Specifically, we've found that scores of 20 or lower have a positive, average expected return while scores of 90 or greater are more likely to underperform.
Specifically, our backtest of 10,400 observations over a 10-year period found that stocks with scores of 0-10 went on to produce an average absolute return of +23.9% over the following 12-month period. Scores of 10-20 produced an average absolute return of +11.9%. At the other end of the spectrum, stocks with sentiment scores of 90-100 produced average negative absolute returns of -10.3% over the following 12-months.
The first table below breaks the 300 companies into a few major categories and ranks all the components on a relative basis. The second table breaks the group into smaller subsectors and again gives them relative rankings within those subsectors.
The following is an excerpt from our 90 page black book entitled “Betting Against the Herd: Generating Alpha From Sentiment Extremes Across Financials.”
Let us know if you would like to receive a copy of our black book, which explains this system and its applications.
BUYS / LONGS: Financials with extremely low sentiment readings of 20 and below on our index (0-100) show strong average outperformance in absolute and relative terms across 3, 6 and 12 month subsequent durations. Stocks with sentiment ratings of 20 or lower rise an average of +15.1% over the next 12 months in absolute terms.
SELLS / SHORTS: Financials with extremely high sentiment readings of 90 and above on our proprietary sentiment index (0-100) demonstrate a marked tendency to underperform in absolute and relative terms across 3, 6 and 12 month subsequent durations. Stocks with sentiment ratings of 90 or greater fall in value an average of -10.3% over the next 12 months in absolute terms.
Joshua Steiner, CFA
Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT
In this brief excerpt from The Macro Show, Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough and Senior Macro analyst Darius Dale discuss U.S. third quarter GDP and why our non-consensus 2016 growth outlook is looking grim.
Subscribe to The Macro Show today for access to this and all other episodes.
Subscribe to Hedgeye on YouTube for all of our free video content.
Takeaway: Nike e-comm push hurts traditional wholesale. An interesting look at WMT wage moves. Amazon holiday.
NKE - E-comm push hurts traditional wholesale
This story discusses the impact of the athletic brand (particularly NKE) push into the direct segment. Because of the way that consumers shop today, it makes it very hard for the little guy to compete with not only the traditional wholesale competitors like DKS, FL, FINL, Sports Authority, Academy, HIBB, etc. but also the brands which have emphasized direct growth. For starters, it's almost impossible for an independent retailer to establish an online presence because of the economics associated with the small scale and limited allocations. It's like Hibbett Sporting Goods (which we think will lose 300-500bps of margin as it builds its e-comm business), but worse. Maybe the technical running shops still have a place in the market, as they can offer a level of service and expertise not available on the internet today. But, a) that type of store only caters to small portion of the population, and b) those sales can easily be moved to the internet once the knowledge is transferred and performance attributes are found.
This isn't an issue just affecting the bottom of the competitive marketplace. As NKE adds $10bil in e-comm revenue over the next 5 years it will send shockwaves around the rest of the traditional supply chain. Look no further than the most recent quarter from NKE when it was the first time EVER that wholesale accounted for less than 50% of incremental profit. This means that Nike itself is now a more important profit driver than all of its traditional customers combined.
WMT - Wages With Minimal Wiggle Room
This is an interesting way to look at the minimum wage decisions at WMT written by the Andrew Pudzer, CEO of CKE Restaurants. Here is a quick summary of his math. The 20 retail companies that land in the Fortune 500 recognize an average of $6,300 in annual profit per employee. On an average retail work week of 31.5 hours the raise to $9 and $10.10 from the current $7.25 minimum wage would equate to an increase in annual wages per employee of $2,370 and $4,446, respectively. That would take annual profit per employee down by 38% for a hike to $9 and 71% for a hike to $10.10. Of course there are companies that already pay over the federal minimum wage, but it's all about the pay gap needed in order to attract the right type of talent which will cause wage inflation across the industry. The bottom line is, this isn't a positive development for retail especially when companies can't pass along the added cost pressures through to the consumer. Which will ultimately result in less employees as costs go up.
AMZN - Amazon Celebrates a Record-Setting Holiday
AMZN put out a press release this am talking about Prime, hardware, and TV stats. Not a lot of concrete detail in the release on Prime other than a brief mention that more than 3mm Prime members were added in the 3rd week of December. At first glance this number is impressive, however we suspect a large portion of the additions are late holiday shoppers leveraging a 1 month free trial to get the free two-day shipping.
December to date ChannelAdvisor comp numbers, suggest a sequential slowdown in comps for the 4th quarter to the 20% range in line with current consensus estimates.
ICON - Iconix Brand Group Announces SEC has Issued a Formal Order of Investigation
CONN - Conn’s CEO eyes 500 store opportunity, recently opened its 100th store in Las Vegas
ETSY - Etsy Temporarily Suspends Google Shopping Ads
FIT - Fitbit topped Apple’s app chart on Christmas Day
This marks the first time it topped Apple’s rankings of free iOS apps, jumping 20 spots from Christmas Eve.
British Stores Notch Record Sales on Boxing Day
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